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What Ads Do Men Notice and What Ads Annoy?

New Ad Age Insights Report Explores Men's Attitudes Toward Life, Work, Family, Media and Shopping

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Wondering how marketers should be communicating with today's American man? Ad Age Insights, with data partner GfK MRI, explores the many ways men's lives today represent a significant departure from those of their fathers and grandfathers in a new trend report, "Dudes to Dads: U.S. Men's Attitudes Toward Life, Family, Work."

How cultural, economic and societal shifts are affecting how men approach home, career and leisure time, and what that means for marketing to them.

Men have the most praise for TV advertising, with more than half (54%) saying TV ads provide them with useful information about new products and services, useful information about bargains (46%) and meaningful information about the product use of other consumers (40%). A lot of guys (47%) even say TV ads are funny.

But that high value comes with a flip side: 63% of them also say TV ads are repeated too often. Half say ads come on at inconvenient times; 46% say the same about ads on the internet. Even worse, the two places marketers spend the most are also where men are more likely to be skeptical of the message: Around a third of men say both TV and internet ads have no credibility.

Print ads get highest marks from older generations. But millennials are the group most likely to call magazine ads amusing, and 30% regard magazines as "pure entertainment" -- suggesting marketers trying to reach young men in an environment where they are looking to be entertained may be overlooking a strong opportunity.

Video is the medium of the young, and that shows up in how much they notice, and are influenced by , digital signage or videos in all the places they're showing up these days.

Millennials report they pay considerable interest in the ads they see most often in shopping malls, followed closely by medical offices and bars or pubs. Gen Xers and boomers also notice ads in malls and medical offices, but to a lesser degree. Millennials are also the most likely to be interested in watching video clips on their phones. But they don't want to see ads; 65% of men overall call cellphone ads annoying, with millennials leading the pack.

It's become a familiar trope: Older men prefer older media, and youth flock to the internet. But the research reveals the picture is actually more complicated with that . Men value every form of media for particular strengths, and look to those places accordingly.

Outdated messages, such as the "bumbling dad" or "efficient housewife," are not likely to pack the same punch going forward. In fact, 71% of men say that keeping a neat, organized home is a top priority for them. A quarter of them spend between four and eight hours a week doing housework, while another 16% spend more than nine hours a week cleaning their homes. Just under a quarter of all men spend four to eight hours a week cooking, while nearly 20% spend more than nine hours a week cooking. And it's not just at the grill, although barbecuing does remain high on men's lists of leisure activities. Sixteen percent of men say they cook for fun, and 13% are baking -- and that percentage is higher among millennial men (14.7%) and Gen X men (15.36 %).

When it comes to shopping, men are primarily looking to save money, but for the most part don't want to bother with coupons. (In fact, half of all men believe if they are being offered a coupon, the product is overpriced to begin with.) Only a third of men say they find shopping relaxing, and 83% expect salespeople to be knowledgeable about what they are selling. Seventy-one percent say the service from salespeople is a significant influence on where they shop.

The report looks closely at where the generations agree and disagree and where the behavior is changing toward their home, work, shopping, media and how they spend their free time so marketers understand what messages will resonate with them. Attitudes toward mobile and social networking are also explored. Purchase the report here.

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